Walking in a mixed group of people you don’t know that well can make the whole ‘going for a wee’ fiasco a bit daunting. At first, the stealthy squat position may seem like the best (most natural) way to go, but let’s be honest, exposing one’s bottom isn't really a subtle approach.
I was also rather anxious about them seeing me using my Shewee, as I had not yet announced that this was my chosen method of peeing on the trip. I was only just starting to get to know them and didn't really want my first day’s conversation filled with explaining the phenomenon of a female standing up to wee! In hindsight, I shouldn't have need worry, as surely they shouldn't have been looking whilst I went to wee anyway!
After hours of walking, I did not trust my tired legs to hold me in a strong squat position, and with the fear of slipping and landing right on the floor itself, I was once again ecstatically happy to have a Shewee with me, the main benefit being that it provided a comfortable, hygienic and very efficient way to wee. It also allowed for a ‘wee with a view’ in some cases, as the small window in the door at standing height looked out to an impressive mountainous landscape. I feel I would have missed out on such an exhilarating toilet experience if I had squatted!
Another item I was extremely glad I had with me was another Shewee product, the Peebol. A sturdy plastic bag filled with silica and a zip lock closing, it can hold up to a litre of liquid, quickly turning it into a solidified gel. Ideal when it is not convenient to wee freely, and when combined with the Shewee, it allows you to wee without worrying about a liquid mess!
The key to trekking in general, especially high altitude treks, is to keep hydrated. On this trip we drank enough water & mint tea to flood a small country, so it was no wonder that we frequently needed to urinate, often throughout the night too. Imagine our concern when we discovered our evening’s accommodation involved us all sleeping in the attic of a mountain hut, accessible only by a 12ft ladder!
Having had to get up most nights to pee, it quickly ran through my mind the logistics of getting up to go to the loo in the middle of the night. To be more accurate, it was like getting ‘down’ to go to the loo, leaving your warm sleeping bag, carefully stepping over other people to get to the trap door (yup), opening said trap door (quietly) and going down the ladder without breaking leg, arm, or neck. The drama did not end there though, as the toilet itself was outside. A quick dash out in the freezing temperatures and gale force wind, to make it to the loo just in time…..only to be faced, yet again, with a squat toilet.
Well, you could only imagine my relief when I realised I had a pack of Peebol with me! No need to do any of that palaver! After a brief warning to the group that, should they hear running water in the room during the night, worry not! It isn't a leaking roof, but me…. taking a leak…into a Peebol.
As the trek continued, so did my use of Shewee, and as we gained more and more altitude I wondered if this is the highest a Shewee has ever been. In similar respect as when Hillary & Norgay became the first people to summit Everest and survive, was this the most extreme height a Shewee had been to date?
As the summit got ever closer, and the bladder got ever weaker, I noted the final use of my Shewee at the height of 3,898m.
Not long after we all reached the summit of Jebel Toubkal (4,167m), North Africa’s highest mountain. It seemed only right, and fair, to let the Shewee bask in glory at the summit of Mt Toubkal. It had earned it!
The long walk back to the village of Imlil was dotted with Shewee use here and there, in bush, behind boulder and again in squat toilets. It was only when I arrived back at the hotel in Marrakech, room complete with sit down loo, that I packed away my Shewee. A rather premature action it would seem, as having got so used to using it, it was hard to return to the usual method of going to the loo!
Having taken a Shewee with me on this trip, it made going to the toilet so much easier, convenient and hygienic. My initial fear of the squat toilets soon diminished when I realised it could be approach in an easier manner – standing up!
As for the attic fiasco, I am forever indebted to Peebol, for I fear if I had ventured out that night, I wouldn’t be sat here writing this. Instead, I would have most likely broken something, shattering my summit dream, or would have been blown away in the night.
My last sight being the distant, twinkling lights of Marrakech.
Thank you Shewee, for helping me achieve my dream of reaching the summit of Mt Toubkal!